There's a lot to like in the Kia Forte for those in the market for a small car. Unassuming in nature yet considerably more refined than previous Kia compact sedans, the Forte feels mature and solid, thanks to having a quiet cabin and one of the most comfortable rides in its class. The spacious, nicely finished interior also wins praise. Braking performance is excellent.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Emissions
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
NA
2011
NA
2012
NA
2013
NA
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
NA
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard.Side and head air bags standard.
Road Test

There's a lot to like in the Kia Forte for those in the market for a small car. Unassuming in nature yet considerably more refined than previous Kia compact sedans, the Forte feels mature and solid, thanks to having a quiet cabin and one of the most comfortable rides in its class. The spacious, nicely finished interior also wins praise. Braking performance is excellent. Overall, the Forte is now among the top-rated cars in the category.

Controls are quite simple -- impressive for a car that is brimming with the latest connectivity features. The four-cylinder engine provides adequate power. Despite a cornucopia of standard features, our Forte LX is quite reasonably priced at just under $18,000. Stepping up to the S trim level adds a sport-tuned suspension and 16-inch alloy wheels. Moving up to the top-shelf EX brings a more powerful engine and luxury-class features like leather-covered heated seats -- somewhat uncommon in this class.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.6-liter 4 turbo (201 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (147 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (164 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2017 Kia Forte owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The brake lights were burned out and I didn't know it. I had it inspected and passed but tow days somebody told me I didn't have any lights. The dealership garage took care of it."

Greg M., PA (2017 Kia Forte 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Headlights

"the same headlights and brake light keeps turning off having to replace it twice now"

Anonymous, (2017 Kia Forte SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The driver's side headlight went out and it was impossible to change without removing the battery. In fact, we still haven't got it fixed. Then the passenger headlight went out. It was also difficult to change and we were unable to drive after dark until we could get someone with smaller hands to remove the old one."

Anonymous, WV (2017 Kia Forte)
Interior lights

"Seat belt cause a problem with the door realiement. This created a problem with the electronic locks and warning light that the door was open. In addition the locks did not stay lock as car was moving"

James S., CA (2017 Kia Forte EX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tire pressure monitor

"Got 4 new tires in December. Took car in two weeks ago and asked them to ckeck the tire indicator. The place where I got the tire broke the air stem. It was not noticeable. So that place has to replace it."

Greg M., PA (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"Seat belt problem that set off sensors and lock"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Kia Forte EX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Android Auto

"Problems with the system connecting to my android phone and issues with the touch screen buttons (but only in the android auto menus, not with regular radio or other functions)."

Anonymous, TX (2017 Kia Forte LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen freezes up

"Would not turn on until. had to take out fuse and put it back in"

Anonymous, ON (2017 Kia Forte LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"I lost my phone pairing connection. After many months I was able to pair once again. Now I have a new android which paired up OK. Today I keyed an address into my Garmin GPS. All of a sudden the system started dialing the person who has this address and continued until I shut the radio off. Then It did it once again with the radio off."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"I DID'NT KNOW YOU COULDN'T HOOK UP THE GPS TO THE CAR RADIO. THAT MEANS I HAVE TO PUR-CHASE AN EXTRA PART !!! I MEAN IT IS A 'BRAND NEW' CAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Anonymous, CA (2017 Kia Forte LX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Rear tail light filled with water"

Anonymous, PA (2017 Kia Forte Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"this occured around the tail lights"

Robert A., SC (2017 Kia Forte LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"Excel to 40 mph and a howling noise kicks in. Under 40 mph no noise. Also excelling the car pulls back, almost stops. Very scarey."

Anonymous, IL (2017 Kia Forte)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"The left front fender insulator trim was found insecure in April 2019. We brought it to the local dealership and they repaired it under warranty without delay."

Anonymous, ON (2017 Kia Forte EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The front air dam connection to the front fender came unpinned by a flimsy connector. Disabled the car on a trip. Dealer refused to correct problem under warranty - bumper to bumper for 50000 miles."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Glass defects

"I have a cracked windshield that appears to me to be a stress crack. It started at the bottom of the windshield and traveled up. No chips or nicks in the glass. Dealer suggested getting it paid for by my insurance. So much for the 50000 mile bumper warranty."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Seat belts

"The drivers front seat retractor seems to be lacking adequate tension. Always caught in the door dinging the paint. Other seat belt retractors seem to have greater tension. Dealer says that it meets factory specifications."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"Car sucked up water going through standing water on road which destroyed engine and components"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Forte SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Coil

"Misfiring engine and they tested the coils and attempted a fix by rearranging them. Problem returned shortly after this and they now isolated the bad coil and replaced, no problem since then"

Jack M., FL (2017 Kia Forte 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

"Mechanic noticed oil pan was leaking due to faulty seal. Dealer replaced under warranty."

Anonymous, DE (2017 Kia Forte LX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"After 2 times of rough shifting and my car taken to the dealership, the dealership told me the starter you going out was the issue as they couldn't get my car do it again."

Anonymous, MI (2017 Kia Forte SX Unsure)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"According to the dealership the starter replacement has fixed my transmission problems. The transmission was so hard to change gear. I could put it into reverse but not into 1st."

Anonymous, MI (2017 Kia Forte SX Unsure)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

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